This time every year we brace up for the July 22nd celebrations and this year we are celebrating 20 years of the revolution’s success story. July 22nd has really impacted on the lives and well-beings of all Gambians and non-Gambians alike. Gambians and non-Gambians will agree with me and this is an undisputable fact, that they have seen landmark developments during the reign of this government which touched on all sectors with health being the number one achievement. Here, the president has taken the health facilities to the doorsteps of the Gambian people. I could recall back in the days when people are sick, they used to travel long to health facilities. But today every corner you turn, there a health care units or centres. The revolution has spoken for itself. Alhamdulillah! I have witnessed things in both the colonial era and the first republic. I was at St Augustine’s High school and I am from Basse and it used to take us three days to travel by road. Even the new secretary general, Dr Kalilou Bayo, can attest to this. Now the road networks in both the north and south banks are wonderful. When the Laminkoto-Passemass and the Basse-Fatoto stretches are completed, nobody will dare complain about roads anywhere. You come to agriculture, we have seen a lot of progress in this sector too. Now people don’t complain about food. People don’t complain that we are hungry. It is only if you are a lazy person. You come to education. During my time, we used to carry tables and chairs to school. But now that is history. There are high schools everywhere. In those years, even at the primary and secondary levels it was hard come by to have an admission. I remember my uncle, Honourable Sedia Jatta, who hailed from Wuli Sutukoba, he stayed in my grandfather’s compound while going to school in Basse. But now you have schools in his area, the high schools are there thanks to President Yahya Jammeh. With regard to trade and industry, you have seen how buoyant commerce is due to the number of investors visiting the country. And gone are the days when people will queue for rice. The president’s accomplishments are innumerable to list down and the APRC party is stronger today than before.
Fatima Keita Nget, Student, Humanity First Institute, Latrikunda
Glorious is your praises, O’ Allah, for giving us such a jewel in the person of His Excellency Sheikh Professor Dr Alhaji Yahya AJJ Jammeh. O’ Allah distance and defeat his enemies and adversaries for him. Uncover the enemies among his entourage; destroy them and replace them with people who are honest and fearful of Allah. Protect the seat of power and unite the civil service and all the other public officials as well as government partners around the words of truth. O’ Lord of the worlds…save Gambians from laziness and lead them from darkness into following their leader and government as we celebrate 20 years of the regime change. Improve their understanding of rulership and their situation everywhere by bringing their hearts together. Guide them onto the paths of peace and prosperity now and forever more. For me, there is no need to belabour in expounding what the president did or didn’t because even to a blind person his achievements are visibly all over. So that alone is enough to speak for itself. May Allah bless Mr President, the first family, the mother of the nation and everybody in his family. Allah save The Gambia.
Mustapha Kebbeh, Programme director, ChildFund, Kanfing South
ChildFund has been in The Gambia for the past three decades. Twenty years on we have seen a lot of tremendous development, tremendous successes. We have got a good enabling environment from the government of The Gambia. We are very thankful to the government of the President Sheikh Alhaji Yahya AJJ Jammeh for that environment. To be specific, we work with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education on a wide range of things. We are a sponsorship-based organisation and we are supporting close to 18,100 children in the West Coast Region alone. We are only able to deliver these services to the people who needed it most because of the full cooperation of the government of the Gambia. We also work with the Ministry of Health. We support a network of 11 clinics in The Gambia with different things, with services such as antenatal, postnatal, supporting welfare for mothers, and the communities at large. And we just finished implementing a project between ChildFund and the Department of Social Welfare, Ministry of Justice, and the Department of Immigration in looking at trafficking in children and child protection. And it ran for two and half years. So definitely for us we owe a great depth of gratitude to the current government of The Gambia. They have opened their arms and they created the enabling environment for us to operate. We work in the different facets of the development sectors of The Gambia. We have provided clean water through our water and sanitation project in collaboration with the European Union to a lot of communities in The Gambia. As we are talking right now our discussions are at an advanced stage in working with department of water resources to see how best we can lend support to other areas that still need water accessibility. I am a human being, I am an African and a typical Gambian. We want to complement the efforts of His Excellency the President. His initiative and his visions for this country. We want to contribute towards achieving it. And that is why we are doing our own little things. In this holy month of Ramadan, we pray to the Almighty Allah to grant our dear leader long life, prosperity and good health. And also, to give him the fortitude to be able to rule this country in the best possible way. As in his own dreams, the Gambia would be the best country which everybody would wish to associate with. And I think we are on that path. And we also pray for the first family for their patience and strength and thank them for their understanding that God has given them a man who is for the country. The citizenry should understand that we don’t have anything but The Gambia. So all of us need to be very sincere and genuine to The Gambia. The only thing that could destroy us, is if we are not sincere and genuine to The Gambia. We should look at The Gambia as bigger than each every one of us and refuse to be selfish. And let us be protective of this country and its ideals and its traditional values. And let us continue to pray because it is making us good.
Mamout Mboom Touray, Executive director, Govi, Kanifing
Immediately after the July 22nd takeover we were privilege to have a bus. The president gave the blind people a bus. The bus was from Japan. Afterwards, whenever it is Ramadan, the Islamic council gives us our share. You know we are disabled people, we do not have and we are among the poorest of the poor and this is why His Excellency helps. Apart from that, we have been working with government to ratify our policies especially the UN Convention on the Rights of the Blind. All these took place during the tenure of this government under the dynamic leadership of Sheikh Professor Yahya AJJ Jammeh. You know our line ministry is the ministry of social welfare. Two years ago were given through the HIPC fund, some money to be used and we are still using that money as a revolving fund. And that is not part of our normal subvention that we receive from the department of social welfare. Frankly, life has been more conducive for us now than before because it is in his leadership that we were able to develop most of our facilities. Before we were in Banjul moving from one place to another paying rent. But when he came in this became a thing of the past because we were able to attract more donors and also able to build our head office here in Kanifing. So we are continuing to pray for the president, his Family, his government and also for the security and stability of the country.
Noah Bojang, HTC student, Gambia College, Brikama
Two decades of formidable and progressive development really deserves a big celebration. It is a cause worth celebrating and also to showcase and assess the achievements of government in terms of how much has been and/or remains to be attained from its plans and programmes as enshrined in the national blueprints such as Vision 2020 including PAGE and the president’s 2016 food self-sufficiency call. And not only that but to also rekindle hopes and renew our commitments to achieving the goals and objectives of all the set national policies and initiatives. Bravo Mr President for your extraordinary leadership skills and dedication which had yielded fruits for the country. In this vein, we pray to Allah the truly Magnificent Creator, to allow you to accomplish your intentions and vision for the country. May Allah show us in your excellent self, signs of more strength and dignity as you continue to bring much unprecedented development to the nation. Wishing you the highest outcome in all your efforts and endeavours in captaining the boat of the nation to the promise land.
Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay, Former Speaker, National Assembly
This is very popular revolution as people from all walks of life support it. What makes it popular is that people went out to join them. In other revolutions, they will come out and threaten people but this revolution was different. The 20 anniversary of the July revolution is indeed worth celebrating because 20 years is not 2 years. The revolution has brought in rapid socio economic development to the doorstep of ordinary Gambians in different sector key among them is health, education, and Women and youth empowerment. Since 1994, Gambians have been enjoying different services render by the APRC government since 1994, go to the rural Gambian, you see people enjoying pipe borne water. We have seen the infrastructural developments taking place, which have not been seen decades ago. The president loves this country and he want to turn it fastest growing economy in Africa. Thanks to Yahya Jammeh Gambians are aware and using latest technologies. For us the women, we are behind him. The economy is stable and the dalasi is working fine compared to other countries. In addition, the most important thing that we are enjoying is peace; there is no problem in the Gambia. We should be happy that we have a president who is very concern about peace and security of this country. We have done well in various aspect and we should pray for his long life and continue peace. Jammeh is dynamic and visionary leader who has the Gambia at heart.
Omar Jallow, Opposition PPP leader
I am baffled. After 20 years of supposed constitutional democratic elected rule, we continue to glorify a coup? To celebrate the July 22 revolution is an insult to Gambians as people who respect the rule of law and democracy and constitutionality. I could not imagine a president elected on four occasions in a democratic process can now turn around to celebrate and glorify illegality. What are they celebrating when they took the mandate of Gambians by the barrel of a gun? What do you have to celebrate? The APRC should have been celebrating 1996 not 1994 when they were elected democratically. Unfortunately, since 1994, The Gambia has seen systematic and continuous erosion of legal status of individuals in this country. We have seen a continuous violation of human rights and the rule of law. Up till today, we have seen people who are detained and held without charges beyond the constitutional limit of 72 hours. I have said this because I believe that I have my freedom in poverty than riches in shackles. During the PPP regime, the civil service was one of the most important independent institutions in this country and no civil servant was allowed to support a political party openly. The police and the army were never politicised during the PPP regime contrary to now. This government should not be blowing its own trumpet. When the PPP took leadership in 1965, we built roads, hospitals, schools, institutions, including GTTI, the schools of public health and agriculture and the Rural Development Institute which are now core of the university. The APRC has absolutely nothing to celebrate.
Essa Touray, Senior history lecturer, UTG
July 22nd is a moment of reflection for us Gambians that has to go back to the colonial era which caused the conscious Gambian elite to demand for independence which was granted in 1965.This brought about the first republic which failed to break away from the colonial system of dependence on the international system. This made us dependent on the international economic system rather than independent. Then we have to reflect on the reasons that brought about the July 22nd Revolution by President Jammeh in 1994. You need to understand another era that marked the emergence of a new Gamba. The PPP was removed because of their failure to recognise the mandate of the people. We need to reflect on whether after 20 years the July 22nd Revolution is in line with restoring the mandate of Gambian people. We need to ask whether the popular participation of Gambians is ensured. Are our political and economic systems being operated according to the desire of the people? The colonialists directed our economy not according to the needs and demands of the people with groundnut as our cash crop which made us dependent on the international system. The Gambia still continues to import rice. We need to reflect on whether the colonial structure has been exterminated. We need to assess the extent of our dependence on the international economic system which has kept The Gambia on the periphery of the world economic system? The July 22nd was geared towards ensuring Gambian independence on the international economic system which is why Vision 2016 is so timely. Hon Lamin
Kebba Tamba Jammeh, NAM, Illiansa Constituency
President Jammeh’s government has brought in manifold developments. What is important is that our national cake is shared equitably unlike before 1994 and accountability and transparency are the order of the day. There are no sacred cows in the Jammeh administration. The Public Accounts and Public Enterprise Committees are a clear manifestation of this. The government registers massive developments so far and has established of institutions of good governance and there is equitable sharing of the national cake.
Ensa Kujabi, UTG student
Personally I don’t think it is worth celebrating because it will cost the state a lot of money. There have been major achievements such as the establishment of the university which we are proud to be part of and also major health centers but I think the regime is concentrating more on quantity than quality because we have many hospitals and schools but the qualities of these schools and hospitals are lacking.
Fatou Gaye- Market Vendor, Serekunda Market
I must first of all thank God in this holy month of Ramadan for witnessing another July 22nd Revolution, and this time around the 20th anniversary. I do not like politics but to be frank with you, I think President Jammeh has done very well in terms of uplifting the lives of ordinary citizens. This celebration should indeed be a moment of reflection on progress, the challenges or shortcomings of the revolution as well chart a way forward. May God bless the revolution and long live The Gambia!
Musa Saidy, University of the Gambia
The July 22nd Revolution has ushered in tremendous development in this country. The University of The Gambia is a product of the revolution. I believe we as a nation have made great achievements since 1994 but there is more room for improvement and development and this can only be attained if all hands are on deck. We should also change our attitude towards ownership of government assets and resources if we are to witness more rapid socio-economic developments. I want the founder and party leader of the APRC to invest more in education.
Janko Sonko, Pensioner, Tallinding
Since coming to power in 1994, the achievements of the APRC government are numerous. They include the construction of the airport, the Arch 22, construction of bridges, schools, hospitals et cetera. The APRC has also tried to unite Gambians by fighting tribalism and other forms of factionalism. They have also empowered Gambian women and have done very well in respecting human rights and child rights in particular.
Ousman Jaw, Serekunda resident
The APRC has done a lot. Their achievements are numerous and evident. They have built schools and hospitals, agriculture is being promoted. There are also numerous and countless infrastructural developments have taken place. Roads have been built, bridges constructed, information and communication widely improved and so forth. They have done a lot for the Gambian people.
A student, speaking under condition of anonymity
I must say, the regime has tried in so many aspects, ranging from education to health, to infrastructure, they are just too many to list. But I think there is still more to be done. There need to be more employment opportunities especially for the youths so that we can tackle the issue of illegal migration and attempting to travel to Europe through the ‘backway’.
Alhaji Jarjue, programme, manager NYC
It is very difficult to accurately determine the impact of this government’s development on the lives of people especially the young people of the country. Because the impact is so great that it becomes very difficult to measure. We’ve seen the young people of this country taking up opportunities offered to them. Government has provided us the opportunity to excel. The University of The Gambia is one great body that has molded the young people of this country. Initially how many people had access to university education? Once the young people are put in the driving seat, The Gambia will become a better place to live in. I think government’s achievement in this area is really commendable and it is worth celebrating. The university is definitely one area that has given us the opportunity to make a paradigm shift. And along the way, along the line we would be able to take charge of our own destiny. So thank the president for giving us the opportunity and we pray for his long life, success, good health and prosperity. And we pray to the Almighty Allah to grant him all that he wishes for this country.
Aji Ngenarr Gai, Banjul female youth councilor
President Jammeh loves The Gambia. He has a big heart for The Gambia and he is focused and has sincerity. That is why we have witnessed all these achievements over the course of the past decades. And insha Allah this shall continue. Therefore I am praying for long life, and good health for President Jammeh. And may Allah safeguard him from the evils of the bad eye and the evil mouth. May Allah protect him from danger and other catastrophes, because we are yet to see the best from him.
Abdoulie Secka, Youth Councilor, Banjul
Since I became a youth councilor to date I have never had a day like this day. Celebrating 20 years of the achievements of our party leader and his government is a good day in my life and so does everyone. I am praying for Allah to Keep His Excellency’s life in the best of health. He is candid with Gambians; he expects us to be candid with him. He understood the needs of the people but more than that, he understood the needs of the country. And pray may Allah bless him continuously, and secure our land.
Fabakary Kalleh, Chairman, NYC
Well sometimes, it is difficult as head of an institution to make general comments, but we are sitting together as an advocacy team to look at how his reign has changed the youth work. So we will make the appropriate comment at the time. I don’t want to preempt it. Alhamdulillah, Islam says we should always pray for our leaders and ourselves. Because our peace lies on our leaders. So we continue to pray so that God continues to guide him, God gives him protection and long life as well as all of us. Where your leadership is not organised, your leadership is not guided, you cannot have a guided society. In fact, one of the theories on leadership states that leadership is about self-management. We pray for God to guide President Jammeh, protect him and give him the foresight to be able to move this country to the best place as he and everybody desired for this country.
Sulayman Bah, Chairperson, Banjul Youth Committee
We are really proud of the achievements of the current government especially the results and strides gained in improving the lives of the young people. Young people are more exposed today than in the previous era. We pray for President Jammeh and we are looking forward to the upgrading of the infrastructural development in the city of Banjul. For instance, refurbishments our roads, sanitary system, and other basic amenities like electricity and water. And we happy with the completion of the new National Assembly building adding to the beautification of the entrance of Banjul. The leadership of President Jammeh has really changed me to be a better person. He has motivated a lot of people to stand strong and to do things the way they feel like they can make things to happen. He has pulled us to another level as a young people and we are appreciative of this.]]>